IBM VisualAge C++ Professional 4.0

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IBM VisualAge C++ Professional 4.0
Name VisualAge C++ Professional
Version 4.0 (Dec 1998)
Vendor IBM
Licence IPLA

IBM VisualAge C++ Professional 4.0 was a radical update to the VisualAge C++ product line that merges the IDE, compiler and debugger into one program that brings with it a host of benefits that are not really or not easily possible with a traditional C compiler such as incremental compilation, some clever code lookup and on-the-spot debugging tricks.

Since the new integrated IDE/Compiler no longer has a workframe integrated into the WPS as it was with 3.0.x compatibility between different OS versions is greatly enhanced, as all workframe functions are replicated or redundant with the new UI the only loss is the ability to integrate third party software into the workframe has been removed.

Originally released on 1998-12-18, and in addition to the VisualAge C++ 4.0 environment the product also included the IBM C and C++ Compilers, Version 3.6.5.


  • ANSI/ISO 1998 C++ compatible, also supports and comes with ANSI/ISO STL, and IBM Open Class Library Version 4.0.
  • Available in Simplified Chinese and Japanese in addition to English.
  • Last known Windows version is 4.0.3, while last known OS/2 versions are 4.0.1.


There was some acrimony towards IBM from OS/2 users of VAC4, IBM initially announced the end of life of the product in 1999 for both MS Windows and OS/2 while it kept updating the AIX version. The announcement was less than a year from the original release of the product and despite the release of Fixpack 1 for both the Windows and OS/2 had some serious bugs that left the tools more or less useless. After an uproar from customers and after it had been pointed out that this could lead to lawsuits since this state of affairs contravened consumer protection laws in a number of countries, IBM decided to extend the support into 2001 and promised a Fixpack 2 for OS/2 and MS Windows, but only delivered fixes for the Windows product, in fact delivered two fixpacks which actually left the Windows version quite usable and a number of third parties used it for some large projects.

But the OS/2 version remains mostly unusable and the bulk of OS/2 developers used the 3.6.5 version instead, and indeed that was the version IBM used internally for delivering support up until they EOL'd OS/2 support in 2006.

Although highly innovative and a tool that pointed the way forwards for C and C++ development tools and sported features that have never been replicated in any other system, the release of VisualAge C++ V4.0 seems to have an all round disaster.

A fairly large number of German software houses had taken up the compiler after the release of VisualAge C++ 3.5 for Windows. The compiler was available in German, it had a fairly mature object and template library in the form of "Open Class" at a time when the STL was promising, but mostly useless, had better visual development tools in general than the competition and it had a high amount of compatibility with VisualAge C++ 3.0 (for OS/2) meaning that the task of writing applications that targeted two of the largest 32-bit operating systems on the market was simplified.

VisualAge C++ 3.5 was buggy at its initial release but IBM provided fixes in a timely manner and did so as well for Open Class, but with the release of VisualAge C++ 4.0 they dropped the German version which felt a bit odd at a time when more than half of the participants on the English language VisualAge C++ forum were native German speakers. The initial release was buggy and IBM did not release fixes for quite a while, and when they arrived they fixed only a few of the most complained about bugs.



IBM Redbooks
  • SG24-5489 - Getting to Know VisualAge C++ Version 4.0


VisualAge C++ 4 updates